If you stick around long enough, everything makes a comeback, even cottage cheese. A curd-centric cousin of farmer and pot cheese, the somewhat dowdy offering has circled back into the spotlight. My brand allegiance remains fickle, a reflection of my childhood. Breakstone, Sealtest, Axelrod and Friendship were on steady rotation in our fridge. Light and Lively poked its head into the mix for a brief visit in the 70s, but its low-fat content didn't align with Jessie's favorite cheesecake recipe.
We enjoyed cottage cheese year round but particularly in the summer, teamed with cantaloupe and blueberries. It was also a quick/comfortable lunch regardless of the season, tangled up with egg noodles. My siblings preferred seasoning the creamy noodles with salt and pepper but I opted for a liberal sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Closing my eyes between forkfuls, Lokshen mid kaese (Yiddish for noodles and cheese), almost tasted like cheesecake.
Cottage cheese is rich with history. The USDA sang its praises in the 1918 booklet, Cottage Cheese Dishes: Wholesome, Economical, Delicious. It was promoted as a cost effective alternative to meat during wartime and considered a creative appetizer option in The Sealtest Food Advisor of 1940. In 1950, the American Dairy Association tempted 'homemakers' with the pamphlet Creative Cooking with Cottage Cheese. Lately, cottage cheese has been popping up with some regularity on-line and in print while also holding court as a social media darling. As someone who recalls color images of hollowed out cantaloupe halves, scoops of cottage cheese and canned fruit cocktail splashed across menus, I find this amusing. Once dubbed the "diet plate," you could find this rather isolated offering somewhere between overstuffed corned beef and pastrami sandwiches and just before rice pudding, cheesecake and egg creams. Baking/consuming a full size cheesecake seemed excessive in the summer heat so I slimmed down Jessie's recipe by half. Fitting neatly in a seven-inch springform, there was plenty of room across the top for a finish of melon and berries. Maybe not considered heart healthy by my cardiologist, but certainly a boost to one's state of mind.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm